Why rugged individualism is a dangerous myth

the looming monster of american myth

Photo illustration by Mark Riechers/DALL-E (TTBOOK)

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America has been an individualistic nation since its founding. But social critic Alissa Quart says the American ideal of the self-made, rugged individual is built on a lie. In her book "Bootstrapped," she argues that even the people who preached the gospel of self-reliance didn’t live up to it themselves.  If you go back to "Little House on the Prairie" writer Laura Ingalls Wilder, or to the transcendentalist icons Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, they’re not who we think.